Watering Trees In A Drought

By Olivia Witthun, DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator, Plymouth, olivia.witthun@wisconsin.gov, 414-750-8744 

Photo credit: City of Minneapolis Forestry Division

Things just keep getting drier and it seems like there is no end in sight. The trees are thirsty, and they need your help!

Watering Newly Planted Trees

Newly planted trees need extra watering until they are established. The amount of water depends on tree size and on your soil type (sandy versus clay).

  • 1-2 weeks after planting: water daily.
  • 3-12 weeks after planting: water every 2 to 3 days.
  • After 12 weeks, water weekly until roots are established.

Watering Tips

  • Deep watering is best. Try to get the soil wet to a depth of at least 6 inches.

  • Any trees you’ve planted in the last 2-3 years likely need to be watered.
  • Established trees are hurting too, so water where you can. (These trees need about an inch of water per week.)
  • Organic mulches, like wood chips, help retain moisture and keep roots cool.

Additional Watering Resources

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